2019 Show Information

“Sustainability” is a vital concept, but what does it mean for home gardeners? It’s very simple: take care of the earth, and it will take care of you. We have some exceptional seminars that will help you get started on gardening more sustainably, and it all starts with the soil.

If you make small changes to create a more sustainable garden, you will soon reap the benefits of spending less time and money, for a garden that is more rewarding—to you and the environment around you. It’s never too late to start.

The Seminars by Category are listed in chronological order. Each of the seminars listed below will tell you the speaker name, seminar topic, seminar description, date, time, seminar location and if there is a book signing afterwards.

Please check the Seminar Schedule for a full list of ALL our seminars.

All seminars at the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival are FREE with your ticket!

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GARDEN 101: The New Science on Soil Health

Would you like to save time and money, have a healthier garden and also protect the planet? You can if you understand the critical role soil plays in garden (and thus, human) health. Our 3 experts will give you all the dirt on the best practices for establishing healthy soil. Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott will help you recognize when “advice” should not be taken. Elizabeth Murphy will help you determine the nutrients your soil has, and what more it might need to establish organic soil fertility. And finally, Christina Pfeiffer talks about the critical role that mulch plays in the garden. With this seminar you’ll discover how to save time and money by avoiding advice that’s not science based, how to follow best practices and reap the benefits of healthier plants and soils.

Wednesday, Feb 20 at 2:15 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow


  • Deconstructing Soil Advice: How to Recognize “Alternative Facts”
    Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott—WSU Asso. Professor and author, Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific NW and How Plants Work
  • Whole Soil Fertility: Soil Nutrition Demystified
    Elizabeth Murphy—Soil scientist and author, Building Soil: A Down-to-Earth Approach
  • Why Mulch MattersChristina Pfeiffer—Horticulturist, arborist and co-author, Pacific Northwest Gardening Month-by-Month

Gardening without Sprinklers? Dry Gardens and Rain Gardens

Jenny Rose Carey—Director, PHS Meadowbrook Farm and author, Glorious Shade

In this changing climate we are faced with more uncertain and erratic rainfall. How do gardeners find ways to use this to their advantage to have a beautiful yet ecologically friendly garden? This lecture is based on Jenny Rose’s practical gardening experience with a “dry” garden that she hasn’t watered since 2004, and her newer rain gardens. She will provide plant lists as well as planting and maintenance tips and techniques.

Wednesday, Feb 20 at 4:15 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Hot Color, Dry Garden: Color Filled Earth-friendly Gardens

Nan Sterman— Designer, journalist, co-producer and host, “A Growing Passion” TV and author, Hot Color, Dry Garden


Color is a favorite part of gardening. Red, purple, orange, green, blue... we want them all! As we weed out too-thirsty plants from our gardens, gardeners worry about losing color. Can a drought-tolerant garden be colorful and beautiful? This seminar demonstrates ways to create color-filled gardens that need little, if any irrigation, along with the best plants for the task. Nan’s colorful images illustrate those plants and how beautiful they look in any garden.

Thursday, Feb 21 at 1:45 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow

Growing a Revolution: Garden the Planet Through Bringing Soil Back to Life

Dr. David R. Montgomery—Award-winning Geomorphologist and author, Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

The overarching idea of regenerative agriculture is to adopt practices that leave the land better off, not worse off. “Soil health” sums up the chief goal of this new kind of agriculture. The gardening world has an opportunity to adapt the practices of this new type of farming for home gardening, no matter what size the garden. Discover how, with healthy soil, gardeners can reap beauty and resilience, the way farmers reap yields, all through greatly reducing, or eliminating, chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Thursday, Feb 21 at 5:45 pm / Rainier Room / Book signing to follow

You’re Stuck With the Soil You’ve Got—Now Deal With It!

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott—WSU Asso. Professor and author, Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific NW and How Plants Work

This seminar will address the most common problem seen in residential landscapes: poor water movement. We’ll demonstrate how mulches and amendments can either improve or worsen drainage. What happens when you use gravel in the bottom of pots? Does water move best through landscape fabric, newspaper, cardboard, or wood chips? You’ll see the evidence for yourself! Handouts containing the text of the talk will be provided.

Saturday, Feb 23 at 10:00 am / DIY Stage / Book signing to follow

Why the “Hidden Half” of Your Garden Really Matters for Plant and Human Health

Anne Biklé—Biologist and co-author, The Hidden Half of Nature

Breaking discoveries about the plant microbiome—the communities of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that swath and coat a plant’s green body—continue to up-end notions about how a plant’s green body works. This new scientific information reveals that gardeners need to modify certain practices, especially those that affect the soil, so that they dovetail with, and better support the grand inner workings of a plant’s green body.

Saturday, Feb 23 at 12:30 pm / Hood Room / Book signing to follow